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How to Run a Windows Vista System Health Report

If your computer is running Windows Vista, it can generate a detailed report that you can use to diagnose hardware, software, and system performance issues: the System Health Report. This report takes about a minute or two to run and provides a wealth of detailed information about the health of your Vista computer.

To generate the Vista System Health Report, you must first go into the Performance Information and Tools center. The easiest way to do this is to type "Performance" in the Search bar and then click on the Performance Information and Tools link. You can also go directly to the Control Panel and click the Performance Information and Tools icon.

Once in the Performance Information and Tools center, click on the Advanced Tools link located in the lower left portion of the screen. Now, click on Generate a System Health Report. Windows will begin running diagnostic tests on your hardware and collecting data about your system. This process takes about a minute to complete. Once the tests have been completed, a detailed report appears on your screen. You can save this report or print it for offline viewing.

The System Health Report is broken down as follows:

· Diagnostics Results - The diagnostics results section lists warnings and performance information. Under the Warnings heading, you will find errors, information, and basic system check results. Any errors found are listed along with their symptoms, causes, details, resolutions, and related information. The basic system check results detail the test results for the tests run on the operating system, disk, Security Center settings, system services, and hardware devices and drivers. Under the Performance heading, a resource overview details the current status, utilization, and details of the CPU, network, disk, and memory.

· Software Configuration - This section of the report covers: operating system checks, Security Center information, System Services, and startup programs. Much of the information is quite technical, with registry values and query strings listed.

· Hardware Configuration - This section of the System Health Report covers: disk checks, system, desktop rating, BIOS, and devices. Like the Software Configuration section, the information here is fairly technical.

· CPU - This section contains detailed information about the CPU and processes. You'll find CPU performance information, processes, services, and system details listed here.

· Network - The network section of the System Health Report details: TCP outbound traffic, TCP inbound traffic, TCP versions 4 and 6, network interface information, IP versions 4 and 6, and UDP versions 4 and 6.

· Disk - The System Health Report also reports the following information related to the hard disk: hot files (files that are causing the most disk IOs), disk breakdown and totals, physical disk counters, physical disk percent idle time, physical disk average second counters, and NTFS performance settings.

· Memory - The System Health Report also details how your computer's memory is being used detailing current running processes and memory usage. Memory performance and handle counters are also detailed here.

· Report Statistics - The last section of the System Health Report lists basic information about the computer such as computer name, Windows build, processors, processor speed, memory, and platform as well as report file information.

While much of the information listed in the System Health Report is extremely technical and detailed, intermediate computer users will find a wealth of useful information including warnings and hardware test results. Armed with this information, you will know where to begin troubleshooting computer problems.


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